Since the Krenim Time Ship (a.k.a. T6 Annorax Science Dreadnaught) is currently big news on STO, not just because it’s the lastest lockbox ship but because it figures prominently in the Iconian War story arc, I thought it would be a good time to list my favorite Star Trek episode for each of the series. Keep in mind I have mostly watched DS9, the latter half of TNG, and only a smattering of TOS/Voyager/Enterprise, my list is bound to be different than hardcore Trekkies!
Voyager — Year of Hell
This is the link to the Krenim right here: this two-parter is my favorite of Voyager from the episodes I remember. Messing with the timeline, creating alternate realities, trying to fix them… it’s certainly relevant to the latest STO story line and feature episodes. Sure there’s the final heroic sacrifice by Voyager to restore the timeline, but what appeals to me is that the episode gives us a glimpse of how desperate Voyager gets. In a way, that’s what the entire Voyager series should be like — a lone marooned vessel slowly making her way back to friendly space, her crew desperate and barely hanging in, with supplies running low all the time. Too bad most of the time Voyager looks spotless and rarely runs into resource problems!
TOS – City of the Edge of Forever
Aha, another time travel mess to unravel!
Admittedly I have only watched a very tiny handful of TOS episodes, something I am trying to rectify (I recently subscribed to a TV channel package that has all the Star Trek shows on-demand, so I am starting to watch old TOS episodes now), but I do remember this one. I also remember the OK Corral one, which was the cheesiest thing ever. :p Anyway, the reason this one stands out is because how serious the episode is played, and not in the cheesy 60’s Sci-Fi way (i.e. the comet is going to hit this planet and eradicate all life, unless we do some diddly-do with this whatchacallit. Dun dun dun!). To watch Kirk trying to find a way to make things work out, to save the girl he loves without wrecking the timeline, and ultimately fail…. it’s tragic and powerful.
Enterprise – Broken Bow
I am sad to say, I really don’t have a favorite episode of Enterprise. Partly because I didn’t like the show enough to follow it, but mainly because it failed to deliver what I hoped it would deliver, based on this pilot… which in a way, can be considered my favorite.
Okay, let me explain.
When Enterprise was first announced, I was hopeful. The whole concept of being the pioneer to space exploration is so Star Trek, it… out-Treks the Original Series. There is that whole sense of hope and adventure as the ship is being prepared, the crew is being assembled and familiarized and vast, unknown space is just out there waiting. You know how you’re getting ready to board a cruise ship that’s heading out to open sea? Yeah, that’s the kind of excitement I was hoping to see on Enterprise. In this pilot we have a glimpse of that, but then the rest of the show mostly just went back to the same Star Trek routine (crowded galaxy out there).
DS9 – Duet
See, it’s not the big flashy Star-Wars-type space battle episodes that I love… Duet is my favorite episode of DS9. This is the one where a Cardassian man is “captured” on DS9, and much of the episode revolves around the DS9 crew trying to discover whether this man is a notorious war criminal or not.
There are some powerful emotional scenes in this one, especially with a bitter Kira desperately wanting to kill the Cardassian for revenge. The comparisons to the Holocaust and Nazi war criminals (as well as Japanese war crimes in Asia, and other similar crimes against humanity) are painfully clear, and the episode brilliantly explores the victims’ conflicting desire for justice and revenge. Of course the real kicker is the revelation that the Cardassian isn’t a war criminal at all, but he was present at the camp as a lowly clerk who was powerless to stop the genocide. He was so haunted by what he saw that he seeks to atone for the crimes for his people by sacrificing himself.
TNG – Inner Light
The Enterprise finds an alien probe, and accidentally activates it. The probe makes a connection with Picard’s brain, sends him into a coma and makes him live an entire lifetime in the course of 25 minutes.
The premise seems such a simple Sci-Fi one, but it is so powefully played. From Picard’s initial refusal to accept this change in scenery, to his gradual acceptance, to his embrace of this other life including wife, children and eventually grandchildren, it is entirely believable and touching. Ultimately, it is revealed that all of it is merely an alien civilization’s last-ditched effort to be remembered, but imagine the immense loss Picard feels with his wife, family and friends gone forever.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: This is the only Star Trek episode that ever made me cry. It’s that moving.